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Santa Fe Releases Names of People who Participated in ‘Anonymous’ Gun Buyback

Is “Operation Safe Streets” Really 'Safe?'

Promoted from diaries.

After the shooting in Newtown, New Mexico officials in a couple cities have supported a ‘gun buyback.’  Among cities coming up with their own plans are Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

People who participated in the Santa Fe buyback, which was dubbed “Operation Safe Streets” were given up to a couple hundred dollars per firearm they turned over.  These citizens were lead to believe that their participation would remain anonymous.  Whether this event notice is official or not is unclear, but a notice found on a Santa Fe event website is how most believed the program would be handled:

In partnership with Wells Fargo Bank, the Santa Fe Police Department will provide three open opportunities to participate in the City of Santa Fe’s Gun Buy-Back Program dubbed Operation Safe Streets.  The goal of the program is to provide a safe way for members of the community to dispose of unwanted firearms and keep these weapons from ending up in the hands of criminals. The program has been developed at the direction of Mayor David Coss.

“We have seen too many tragedies hit communities across this country not to take every possible action to reduce gun violence. I am committed to working with state and federal lawmakers to find solutions and to implement anything we can at the city level. I am optimistic that a gun buy-back program will help keep guns from tragic uses and out of the hands of criminals,” said Mayor David Coss.

First “Operation Safe Streets” Gun Buyback Netted 194 Firearms

The first gun buyback was so successful all of the Visa gift cards were given away before the 3 p.m. close.

Wells Fargo is co-sponsoring the effort by absorbing the transaction fees associated with the Visa gift cards used for payment. The City will provide the Visa gift cards in return for operational firearms. No identification will be required to participate and participation in the gun buyback can be anonymous. The City will pay $150 for any operational handgun, $100 for any operational long gun (rifle or shotgun), and $200 for any operational high capacity or assault weapon (an “assault weapon” is any semi-automatic, magazine fed, military style rifle or carbine). Other types of weapons may be turned in for destruction without payment including non-operational weapons and imitation and/or low-powered air weapons which are difficult to distinguish from real weapons and therefore pose a danger. No payment will be made for non-operational weapons or imitation and/or low-powered air weapons.

“There are too many crimes and tragedies involving firearms in this city and throughout the county.  I’m glad we are finally able to work on a preventative program that can help educate the community and reduce the number of firearms available,” said Police Chief Raymond Rael.

Location of all Gun Buybacks:
SFPD Headquarters – 2515 Camino Entrada SF, NM.

Dates/Times:
·        Saturday, February 9, 2013: 9 a.m. –  3 p.m.
·        Saturday, March 9, 2013: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

All firearms accepted under this program will be destroyed by cutting, burning, chopping and/or any other method which will render the weapon inoperable.

And farther down:

Operational Procedures

Anonymity

Operation Safe Streets is an opportunity for people to turn in firearms, no questions asked. This includes if the weapon has been used in a violent crime or is stolen. No identification will be required to participate. Citizens may bring any unloaded and operational firearms to the Santa Fe Police Department Headquarters on any of the three dates of the operation: January 12th, February 9th, and March 9th.

In order to receive anonymity, citizens wanting to participate in the program will be required to turn in their weapons during the dates and times of the operation or by contacting the departmental liaison. If a citizen is found in possession of a stolen, altered or evidentiary weapon outside the scope of the operation, that person will be subject to any and all laws or ordinances which may be applicable. Simply put, if a person is detained and/or arrested by police in other criminal circumstances, they may not claim anonymity.

Firearm Acceptance Terms

The safe disposal of any and all operational automatic and/or semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns is the focus of Operation Safe Streets. A police armorer will be on site during the scheduled dates to determine if the submitted firearm is operational and safely unloaded.

The ‘gun buyback’ program has been so successful that the city of Santa Fe has gone over the budget it was provided with and this week was forced to request more funding amounting to $30,000.  In the process the data of people who participated in the gun buy-back (including name, address and phone number) has been made public (see document here).

Among those whose information was released is Brian Egolf who is a Santa Fe lawyer and Democratic Representative:

“My recollection was that it was announced as an anonymous thing.  It’s unfortunate that this happened because there are people who may have a criminal tie to a firearm. This is really going to hurt the city’s efforts at future gun buybacks.”

- Rep. Egolf, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican

City officials also had announced that police would only buy functioning firearms under the program, which is intended to help keep guns out of the wrong hands by destroying them. However, an Albuquerque man who drove up to Santa Fe on Jan. 12 said he sold a nonfunctioning Mossberg shotgun with a broken pump. The man said he identified himself by the pseudonym “Speedy Baca” so he could stay anonymous.

“I got that $100 gift card and, in turn, I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse and I put that $100 toward a Springfield Armory XD .40-caliber — a concealable, high-capacity pistol — and I posted pictures online on a bunch of threads about how to take advantage of gun buybacks,” he said.

“Speedy Baca” said most of the people he saw at the Santa Fe sale were selling weapons worth less than $100, including “junk knockoffs.”

-Santa Fe New Mexican

Now those who participated in “Operation Safe Streets” are potentially in danger from law-breakers who may wish for easy defenseless victims or hope that these homes may have other guns which were not turned in.

With government officials in New Mexico such as these in Santa Fe there is little doubt that there is no need for a New Mexican ‘New York Journal News.’

Cross-posted on my blog politicalfireball.wordpress.com

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